Morgan Orion
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Morgan Orion

Urbana, Illinois, United States

Urbana, Illinois, United States
Band Folk Americana

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Being young and willing, Morgan Orion is likely going to redefine the music scene of Champaign-Urbana within a few years if he keeps it up. Already having booked his own tours in North America and Europe (albeit, spotty ones with holes), establishing a booking collective dedicated to throwing house parties, and released an album plus more, we’re predicting great things from the newest addition to the music scene who seems to “get it.”

- August, 2009 - Smile Politely


By Hillary Waldstein

When I called Morgan Orion to conduct this interview, he was doing exactly what one would expect a singer-songwriter/poet to be doing on a hazy afternoon: taking a walk around Champaign. Born and raised in Urbana, Orion is making a name for himself as an anti-folk artist at the ripe age of 22. He’s busy putting the finishing touches on his newest album Lovesick and is already working on more records to come. Since 2007 he has released three album (Circle of Allusions, MO and the Constellations and Berlin Songs: Volume 3) and co-founded international indie label Tri-Lingual Records, based in Illinois, the U.K. and Liechtenstein. Orion mixes honest lyrics with an old country sound to create the perfect recipe for cloud-watching and dandelion blowing. With three upcoming shows this weekend and next and an album on the way, Orion’s a poet you want to know.

buzz: How did you get started in music?

Morgan Orion: How did I get started? I mean I listened to a lot of music growing up. My family had tons of amazing records like The Beatles and Paul Simon- a lot of cool music my parents played. I started playing music at 16. Picked up a guitar and starting writing songs at the same time… I really got into these people who were writing songs that were pretty simple and thought I could do it too. Jeffrey Lewis is the reason why I started playing music.

buzz: How is “Lovesick” different from your previous albums?

MO: I’m currently mixing it with the help of another local musician Paul Kotheimer. It’s going to sound more professional. It’s more of a studio album even though it’s still [recorded in] a basement studio. It’s got a fuller band sound and I’d say that it’s more developed… Everything else was recorded on old reel-to-reel tape, low fidelity. It’s fancier sounding… I don’t want people to think that it’s going to sound too fancy. The last three albums were recorded within a year. This one took me two years. I don’t know why, but it did. People will have to see for themselves.

buzz: What is your writing process like?

MO: Walks, like this one. Writing in the car a lot. Driving around a lot. When you’re driving, there’s all this time. The highway has so much white noise. You’re in a room where you can create. I’ve been singing songs into my phone while I drive. It’s probably less dangerous than it sounds. Sometimes I just pick up a guitar and start singing some songs. Sometimes it’s a thought. The shower’s good too- a lot of white noise in there.

buzz: What do you find most inspires you in your writing?

MO: Everything is fair game. Whatever strikes my fancy. Obviously there’s emotions: love or hate or sorrow. Pretty basic. And then I like just a good play on words.

buzz: What are you looking forward to regarding your upcoming performances?

MO: Wow, who knows? Usually there’s an element of spontaneity involved. So I guess I look forward to being in the moment at the time. Whatever happens, happens. And hopefully sharing that with whoever wants to be there in that moment…

buzz:Who is your dream duet with?

MO: Bob Johnston, the guy who produced a lot of Bob Dylan’s albums, Bridge over Troubled Water, and Songs From a Room. Yeah, he’s still alive in Texas. I would love to do an album with him if somehow he’d be interested in that. If that could ever happen that would be great.

buzz: Tell me a little bit about Tri-Lingual Records.

MO: Tri-Lingual Records is a global DIY record label which I helped start with some friends. We’ve toured in Europe twice and America twice. It’s a sweet group of people doing great stuff. We all have our own projects and we get together. Some of the artists from Europe were here this summer and helped with Lovesick…

buzz: Any long term goals or dreams?

MO: I guess I try not to get too long term because I want to keep on doing things now. I want to release Lovesick and finish that. I have a lot of other albums coming up that I’m thinking about. It’s good not to think about too much or else you can’t get anything done you know?

buzz: Anything else you want people to know?

MO: I’ve been writing a lot of poems lately. I want to release a book of poems soon. There’s a book of poems on the website (morganorion.com). - Buzz Weekly


There’s something very worth investigating here. The low-key balance between the rough and the smooth is judged nicely, making the sound rather intriguing, if you ask me. - Song By Toad


The songs drift through doo-wop arrangements and a general 50s pop vibe, with sublime storytelling skills on display. It’s just lovely, affecting and involving. - the-fly.co.uk


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Morgan Orion was an anti-folk teen. He released three albums by the age of 18 and had already toured throughout the U.S. and Europe by the time he ended up crashing on Grammy award winner, Kimya Dawson's floor.

Morgan Orion has since released a fourth album and played with acts including: Kimya Dawson (K), The Burning Hell, tUne-yArDs (4AD), Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jeffrey Lewis and The Junkyard (Roughtrade), Company (Fat Possum), The Middle Ones, Withered Hand (SL), Viking Moses, The Wave Pictures (Moshi Moshi) and Ryland Bouchard (Swim Slowly/Kill Rock Stars).

His song "I'm Not Here for the City" was released in the summer of 2010 as part of the critically acclaimed compilation, Berlin Songs Vol. 3 alongside works by Jeffrey Lewis, Turner Cody, David Tattersall (The Wave Pictures), Stanley Brinks, Clemence Freschard and The Wowz.

http://www.berlinsongs.com/

He helped start the international indie label, Tri-Lingual Records, based in Illinois, the U.K. and Liechtenstein.

http://trilingualrecs.tumblr.com/

Now 23, Morgan is scheduled to release a fifth album in the fall of 2013 entitled, "The Tunnel of Love and the Hell of Hot Licks".

Band Members